Lord of the Rings... 

1. Ash nazg durbatulūk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulūk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. Huh?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the Darkness bind them -- i.e. the inscription on the One Ring. From the full poem:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

2. Gandalf the Grey also had a ring. What was the name of his ring? (Honor due for the names of all the Elven ring bearers.) Who forged the elven rings?

Gandalf's ring was Narya the Great, the Ring of Fire. The original ring-bearers were Galadriel, Gil-galad and Cirdan the Shipwright. Gil-galad gave his ring (Vilya) to Elrond an the slopes of Orodruin, while Cirdan gave Narya to Gandalf when the latter first arrived on the shores of Middle Earth. Galadriel's ring was Nenya. Celebrimbor was the ring-forger.

3 . This knight of the Riddermark is credited with killing (not just stabbing!) the Lord of the Nazgul. Who? 

Dernhelm, not Eowyn or Theoden-daughter.

... and other Books

4.  This quote was in the initial manuscript at the start of the book.  "The noble soul has reverence for itself" - Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.  The epigraph was removed from the final published book, but re-introduced  into a later edition 25 years after the book was first published. Which cult phenomenon are we talking about?

Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead". Generates the same cult hysteria as Tolkien, and that's the connection.

5.  Complete this quote from Dostoevsky : "All Russian writers are descended from ..."

Gogol's Overcoat.

6.  Authoress Amandine Lucile Aurore, née Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant. Lover of Chopin, de Musset, Sandeau, Merimee -- who demanded for women the freedom in living that was a matter of course to the men of her day. "My profession is to be free." 

George Sand (1804-76.)

Bonus: Elvira (more sinned-against than sinning) was the wife of this subject of  Moliere, Mozart, Byron and Shaw.

Don Juan.

"This thing can be done."

7. This all-time great bowler commented to his team mates during the 10-minute break between the 3rd and 4th innings, "This thing can be done." And it was done. The rest is history. The great bowler himself, in fact, got  it done. Identify the bowler and the Test. If you know one, you'll probably know the other.

The Oval, 1882. England, with WG in the team, need only 85 runs to win the match. Freddie Spofforth of Australia mutters to his teammates -- This thing can be done. He proceeds to take 7/46, England are all out for 77, Spofforth ends with match bowling figures of  14/90. The famous "Ashes" obituary appears in the Sporting Times thereafter.

8. Who is the only Nobel Laureate to date to have played 1st class cricket?

Naipaul, you guess? It's Samuel Beckett.

9. Nicknames. Identify the following cricketers: The Governor General B. The Little Dog C. The Wanderer D. Whispering Death E. White Lightning 

A. Charlie Macartney (due to his playing style of grace and authority)
B Graeme Pollock (his elder brother, Peter Pollock, was the Big Dog)
C.Vijay Manjrekar (would frequently shift his State allegiance, depending upon the terms )
D. Michael Holding (couldn't hear his approach till he passed)
E. Allan Donald (fast, deadly when he strikes)

Bonus: How did S.Venkatraghavan first come to know that he had been replaced as Indian captain by Sunil Gavaskar after the tour of England in 1979?

From the newspaper, you guess? No, the pilot made the announcement on the public address system on the plane bringing the team back home.


10. FDR called it the "Sacred Cow", Truman called it  "Independence", Eisenhower called it "The Columbine", what did JFK call it?

Air Force One. Presidential Aircraft Douglas VC-54C "Sacred Cow"; Douglas VC-118 "Independence"; Lockheed VC-121E "Columbine III";  Boeing VC-137C SAM 26000 "Air Force One".

11. The pilgrims came to the New World aboard the Mayflower. What was the name of the Mayflower's less seaworthy sister ship? 

The Speedwell.

12. What was the ball of thread that Theseus used when he entered the Minotaurs' cave called?



13. What statement -- a famous quote in itself -- caused the classic response "Thought you would have. Would you like some tea?"

Edmund Hillary: "We knocked the bastard off" after he returned to the base camp.

14. Who did Jim Corbett describe as "a large-hearted gentleman with boundless courage" ? 

The tiger.

15.  This famous John Donne quote gave rise to a Hemingway title:

No man is an island, entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main ;
Any man's death diminishes me, 
Because I am involved in mankind;
And therefore never send to know  _____________

For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Bonus: "From Here to Eternity", the smoldering novel by James Jones about the lives of American military men (and their women) stationed in peacetime Hawaii just before Pearl Harbor in late 1941, also picks it's name from the lines of a poem, this time by Kipling. What lines?

Gentlemen rankers out on a spree,
damned from here to eternity.


16. What's common to: Lesotho, Swaziland, Morocco (apart from being situated on the African continent)?

They are the only existing African Kingdoms/Monarchies.

Bonus:  What is in common among the communities: Chechen, Ingush, Bantu?

The names of these communities are actually their word for 'people'.

17. The name of this country literally means 'two seas',  referring to the natural springs of fresh water rising from beneath the salt seas off its coasts.


18. This Arabic word, for 'Red or Crimson Castle'  describes palaces and courtyards surrounded by red brick walls built by the Moors.



19. This ancient Greek colony in Asia Minor was reputed for speaking  an especially mangled dialect of Greek. The Athenians, noted purists and orators all,  lost no opportunity to sneer at the colonists as rustic boors. This colony has given birth to an English word meaning "grossly incorrect grammatical usage, a  mistake in the idiom of a language, any type of error including improper use of words or a deviation from logic". What is this word?

Solecism (from the colony of Soloi, or Soli, in Cicilia.)

20. This word comes from the Greek word for a "slice" or "a piece cut  off". It originally referred to a book which formed part of a larger  work. It is now humorously used to refer to any thick, heavy book.


Bonus: When all the non essential material is cut out of this "part of a book", we have only the essence left. The word for this "essence" is commonly used in the sense of "an embodiment of characteristic qualities" - for e.g. "Grandpoohbah  was the ______ of  a pompous gravitas."


21. This Latin word meaning "a set of ten" came from the ancient Roman practice of buying hides and skin from barbarian tribes in lots of ten. Naturally, a lot of bargaining took place, and this Latin word became English (or rather American) slang for "to bargain".


More Origins

23. The actor Charles Macklin retired from the London stage in 1753 and opened a joint  in Covent Garden that he called The British Inquisition. Every evening at seven o'clock this featured a lecture by Macklin followed by a debate. These became popular for a while; so much so that a playwright and fellow actor named Samuel Foote was provoked to attend. Among his many accomplishments, Foote was a master mimic, was aided by a devilishly sharp wit, and he seems to have barracked Macklin without mercy. Macklin was unwise enough to claim as part of a lecture on memory that his own was so highly trained he could remember any text he had read just once. Foote composed, on the spot, a bit of nonsense as a challenge that has since become famous:

"So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the Great _____ himself, with the little red button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch as catch can, till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots".

This word has now come to be used to refer (humorously) to any exalted or powerful person. A little like 'Grandpoohbah.'


24. A service called the Introit sung on the first sunday after Easter begins thus -- "In  the same way as new born babes ....". The first two words of the original Latin version of this service (meaning "In the manner of" or  "Similar to") are the name of a famous literary character. Who? 


25. The phrase " Often a bridesmaid, but never a bride" originated in 1925 in an advertisement. What was the product ?

Listerine Mouthwash.